Rebecca Ann Sedwick Update: Authorities Blame ‘middle-school drama’ for 12-Year Old’s Suicide
Authorities are confirming that Rebecca Ann Sedwick was bullied for more than a year by as many as 15 girls before she committed suicide.
The Associated Press reports the bullying started over a "boyfriend issue" last year at Crystal Lake Middle School, according to Sheriff Grady Judd. He gave no further details. Police said Rebecca was suspended at one point for fighting with a girl who used to be her friend.
The investigation into Rebecca's death is still ongoing but Judd said in a news conference, "at this point, it seems that middle-school drama led to the girl's death — not a lack of oversight.
"Girls can get pretty catty as kids," Judd said. "The system cannot manage all that cattiness. I truly believe the school system tried but we don't live in a perfect world."
Last December in 2012, Rebecca was hospitalized for three days after cutting her wrists because of what she said was bullying, according to the sheriff. After Rebecca complained that she had been pushed in the hallway and that another girl wanted to fight her, Rebecca's mother decided to start home-schooling her in Lakeland, a city of about 100,000 midway between Tampa and Orlando, Judd said.
Online messages were sent to 12-year old Rebecca that read "You should die" and "Why don't you go kill yourself."
Rebecca Ann Sedwick couldn't handle the bullying anymore and changed one of her screen names to "That Dead Girl."
She messaged a boy in North Carolina: "I'm jumping." And then, on Monday, the Lakeland girl went to an abandoned concrete plant, climbed a tower and hurled herself to her death.
After Rebecca's suicide, police looked at her computer and found search queries such as "what is overweight for a 13-year-old girl," "how to get blades out of razors," and "how many over-the-counter drugs do you take to die." One of her screensavers also showed Rebecca with her head resting on a railroad track.
Police said that she had met the North Carolina boy at an airport and that they had remained friends online. The 12-year-old boy didn't tell anyone about the "I'm jumping, I can't take it anymore" message he received from her on Monday morning, shortly before her suicide, authorities said.
Judd said parents of all 15 girls have cooperated with detectives and authorities seized computers and cellphones from some of the girls as they decide whether to bring charges this latest deadly cyberbullying case.
A central Florida sheriff said Thursday he is investigating whether he can file charges under the state's new law that covers cyber-bullying.
Rebecca Ann Sedwick Found Dead of Apparent Suicide
A missing girl was found dead in Lakeland, from an apparent suicide. Her mother says she was a victim of relentless bullying. According to the sheriff's office, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, 12, was last seen early Monday morning leaving her Arizona Avenue home. Her mother thought Rebecca was on her way to school.
12 y/o's family says she was bullied
A 12-year-old girl who was reported missing was found dead in Lakeland early Tuesday morning, authorities said. Deputies said Rebecca Ann Sedwick's body was found at an empty lot of a former cement company on North Eastside Drive.